Distance Programs in Agronomy Policies

Student Admissions

The Admissions Committee is charged with identifying students most likely to be successful in the program and those who, if accepted, enhance the program due to their location, background, or diversity. The Admissions Committee meets shortly after the application deadline in the fall and spring to select new admissions for the upcoming academic semester. There are three different classifications for program acceptance: full, provisional, and restricted.

A student who has been admitted to the program and has met all of the requirements for admission.
A student who has been admitted to the program but does not meet all of the requirements for admission related to previous coursework. Once a student has completed deficient courses, the program will ask the Graduate College to modify the student's provisional status to full admission status.
A student who has been admitted to the program but did not graduate in the upper half of their undergraduate degree program. Once a student has taken at least 9 credits of graduate courses at a GPA of 3.0 or above the program will ask the Graduate College to modify the student's restricted status to full admission status.

Program Participation

The Graduate Certificate and MS Agronomy programs follow ISU Graduate College guidelines to determine active student status. If a student does not register for classes for 4 consecutive semesters (2 years, summer excluded), the Graduate College will flag a student’s records as inactive.

If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, they are placed on academic probation. The Graduate College will put a hold on any further class registration. This does not mean students cannot continue with the program. The Distance Programs in Agronomy office can request a lift of the Grad College hold so that the student can either retake a class to get a better grade, or be allowed to take another class to improve cumulative GPA. Once GPA is back up to 3.0 or better, the registration hold will be lifted.

If a student no longer wishes to be enrolled in the program, he/she can complete a Withdraw form. This form will drop any courses they happen to be taking at the time, but the student is still responsible for Tuition and Fees.

To graduate, students must complete all courses listed in the curriculum of their program. Electives are not allowed. MS Agronomy students must complete 40 credits of coursework and creative component. Certificate students must complete 18 credits of coursework only. Transfer courses will only be accepted for the MS Agronomy program, and any transfer courses must be equivalent in content to those in the curriculum. Courses counted for another degree program cannot be used as transfer.

Degree Completion Timeline

All graduate students at Iowa State University have a 7 year time limit to complete their degree. Graduate Certificate and MS Agronomy program students must follow this rule. For example: a student who starts the program Fall 2010 should complete all courses (including creative component for MS students) by Fall 2017 to graduate.

Course Completion

Students are provided with registration and textbook information before the start of each registration period. They are also reminded to be sure of their course load in relation to their other commitments (work, family, etc) when deciding upon how many courses to take each semester. Students who are registered for classes fall into the following categories:

A student who drops ALL courses prior to the first day of the term.
A student who is registered for more than one class, who drops one class after the start of the term but remains registered for the other(s). The dropped class is subject to tuition adjustment deadlines.
A student who drops ALL courses on or after the first day of the term. This is considered a withdrawal from the semester. The dropped courses are subject to tuition adjustment deadlines.
There are times when circumstances beyond a student’s control prevents further participation during a semester. If the student is passing at the time, an instructor may approve an Incomplete. The instructor will give a grade of “I” at the end of the semester. The student will then have to make arrangements with the instructor to complete course requirements. Once complete, a Grade Report to the Registrar will be submitted for the semester the student originally registered for the class.
A student who participates in a class from start to finish during the semester of registration. This student will be given an appropriate grade at the end of the term.

Academic Misconduct

All ISU students, including those in the MS Agronomy and Agronomy Certificate programs, are expected to comply with the rules of academic honesty. The ISU Catalog defines Academic Dishonesty as follows:

Academic dishonesty occurs when a student uses or attempts to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam; or submits as his or her own work themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, or other products prepared by another person; or knowingly assists another student in such acts or plagiarism. Such behavior is abhorrent to the university, and students found responsible for academic dishonesty face expulsion, suspension, conduct probation, or reprimand. Instances of academic dishonesty ultimately affect all students and the entire university community by degrading the value of diplomas when some are obtained dishonestly, and by lowering the grades of students working honestly.

Specific descriptions of academic dishonesty and disciplinary measures are detailed in the Academic Life/Regulations section of the ISU Catalog: http://catalog.iastate.edu/academiclife/regulations/#academicdishonestytext

Plagarism is one of the main forms of academic dishonesty. MS Agronomy and Agronomy Certificate students are provided with resources to avoid this form of misconduct:

ISU Grading System

All academic programs at ISU use a 4.0 grading scale with a grade of A representing the highest mark: http://catalog.iastate.edu/academiclife/gradingsystem/#gradingsystemtext. The ISU Graduate College requires all Graduate students to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their program. If a student cannot maintain a 3.0 GPA, it sets in motion the following:

  • The student will be placed on Academic Probation (please see Program Participation).
  • The student will not be able to graduate.
  • Students are allowed a C on their transcripts as long as their GPA is 3.0 at the time of graduation. C- or below grades are not accepted and those courses must be retaken.

This information can also be found in the Graduate Student Handbook, pages 46 & 47: http://www.grad-college.iastate.edu/common/handbook/Grad_College_Handbook_August_2014.pdf